Search Tips


Doing your own search can often produce results. It’s fiddly, time consuming and requires a great deal of accuracy. Searches can be unsuccessful due to small spelling errors so check carefully whether its one or 2 ‘L’s, a ‘V’ or an ‘F’, an ‘E’ or an ‘A’. Surnames can change slightly over the years (often to avoid the Bailiff), so Seago could become Seaga or Seager or Seego for instance. Official documents do not always have the correct spelling of the names.

We will add search tips regularly to this section, so check back often.

Preparing Your Search

Create a Word Document and put all the information you have in it, even if its only 2 lines. You will soon be adding to this. Keep the information as ordered as possible and make it easy for others to understand. Use bullet points rather than long rambling sentences. If you request help with your search, then you can email this Word document to whoever is helping you as a starting point. Avoid using ‘he’ and ‘she’, use names. For example, rather than saying ‘my mother and her sister moved to England then she went to live in New York, it is much clearer if you say ‘my mother and her sister moved to England then my mother went to live in New York’. In the world of searching and tracing, one cannot assume anything as a wrong assumption can take you off in the wrong direction, wasting many valuable search hours.

Starting Your Search – Hello Google!

This involves many hours of what is known in the investigation and tracing world as ‘grunt work’. Use Google Search to search any names you have, including schools, towns, sports teams etc. A Google result will give you hundreds of search results pages and often the information you are looking for is not on Page 1, so trawl through at least the first 20 pages, until the search results start becoming irrelevant. If the person you are looking for breeds goldfish and advertises goldfish for sale in the Goldfish Magazine, their details will come up in a Google search result, so don’t ignore the less impressive looking results.

Use Google Images to search any people names you have, to look for familial resemblance. Noses, chins and ears are often identifying features.

Use to search electoral rolls. The basic information is free but you will have to pay for in-depth information.

The Mormons and the Salvation Army keep very comprehensive records, so its always worthwhile using their databases.

Post Far & Wide To Get Good Google Rankings

Advertise your search online everywhere and anywhere. Make a Facebook page dedicated to the search, post in forums, post in adoption search registers, post in groups on Facebook. The more times the name is mentioned of the person you are searching for, the more chance there is of it coming up on the front page of Google if the person you are searching for happens to google their own (or birth) name.

Birth Family

If you are birth family searching for an adult adopted child, you can go the adoption agency and ask for a letter to be included in the adoptees file with your current contact details and the fact that you would like to make contact. If the adoption agency has the current address of the adoptee, they may be persuaded to contact the adoptee and advise them that a birth family member is searching for them.

Adoptees UK

Since 1975 adoptees over the age of 18 are able to obtain a full birth certificate. Use this excellent link to find out more.

Search Request